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Russia on the Edge


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Is Russia a Center or a Periphery? 1. Deconstructing Imperial Moscow 2. Postmodernist Empire Meets Holy Rus': How Aleksandr Dugin Tried to Change the Eurasian Periphery into the Sacred Center of the World 3. Illusory Empire: Viktor Pelevin's Parody of Neo-Eurasianism 4. Russia's Deconstructionist Westernizer: Mikhail Ryklin's "Larger Space of Europe" Confronts Holy Rus' 5. The Periphery and Its Narratives: Liudmila Ulitskaia's Imagined South 6. Demonizing the Post-Soviet Other: The Chechens and the Muslim South Conclusion Index

About the Author

Edith W. Clowes is the Brown-Forman Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Virginia. Her books include Russia on the Edge: Imagined Geographies and Post-Soviet Identity, Fiction's Overcoat: Russian Literary Culture and the Question of Philosophy, Doctor Zhivago: A Critical Companion, The Revolution of Moral Consciousness: Nietzsche and Russian Literature, and Russian Experimental Fiction: Resisting Ideology after Utopia.


"Clowes provides a provocative reassessment of the new Russia, positing a shift from a traditional temporal historical paradigm to a spatial one. With the fall of the multinational Soviet empire where power resided in Moscow, a more diffuse situation has developed with the rise of ethnic and national identities on the geographical perimeters. Geography has partially displaced history, to the great discomfort of the central ethnic Russian populace... In this stimulating study, Clowes discusses liberal commentators Mikhail Ryklin and Anna Politkovskaia versus Aleksandr Dugin, an ultra-nationalist ... and the more diverse attitudes of 'peripheralist' writers such as Victor Pelevin and Ludmilla Ulitskaia."-Choice "In Russia on the Edge, Edith Clowes investigates how and why borders are so central in today's Russia. She brilliantly demonstrates that much of Russian identity is defined not by what Russia is but rather where Russia is. Indeed peripheries function imaginatively as the sites of vital debates about how Russians see themselves. Clowes therefore offers a must-read analysis of how geographical and geopolitical metaphors construct post-Soviet Russian identity."-Marlene Laruelle, The Johns Hopkins University "Russia on the Edge is an exceptionally innovative and insightful contribution to the literature on nationalism, national self-images, and identity in Russia today. Arguing that conceptions of 'what Russia is' depend critically on notions about where the country is located, Edith W. Clowes makes a compelling case for the new importance of 'imagined geographies' as perceptual arenas for the construction and contestation of identity in Post-Soviet Russia."-Mark Bassin, Sodertorn University "Russia on the Edge is extraordinarily ambitious in its scope and sweep. Edith W. Clowes is interdisciplinary in her approach, bringing together Soviet and post-Soviet literature and film, contemporary Russian philosophy and political thought, and the study of geography. The result is most impressive."-John B. Dunlop, Hoover Institution

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